The Gypsy King: Book 1 Of The Gypsy King Trilogy

Paperback | February 4, 2014

byMaureen Fergus

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A runaway slave with a shadowy past, sixteen-year-old Persephone has spent four long years toiling beneath the leering gaze of her despised owner and dreaming of a life where she is free to shape her own destiny. Then, one night, a chance encounter with a handsome chicken thief named Azriel changes her life forever.

Sold to him for a small bag of gold coins, Persephone soon discovers what she already suspected: namely, that Azriel is not what he seems. And when she realizes that he believes Persephone has a special destiny—she is determined to escape him and his impossibly broad shoulders.

But things are no longer as simple as they once were.

Torn between her longing for freedom and her undeniable feelings for the handsome thief with the fast hands and the slow smile, Persephone faces the hardest choice she will ever have to make.

And no one—least of all her—could have imagined the shocking truth her decision will reveal.

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A runaway slave with a shadowy past, sixteen-year-old Persephone has spent four long years toiling beneath the leering gaze of her despised owner and dreaming of a life where she is free to shape her own destiny. Then, one night, a chance encounter with a handsome chicken thief named Azriel changes her life forever. Sold to him for a small bag of gold coins, Persephone soon discovers what she al...

Maureen Fergus is the author of  four novels for young people: The Gypsy King, Exploits of a Reluctant (But Extremely Goodlooking) Hero and Recipe for Disaster, of which the latter two were both shortlisted for the McNally Robinson Book for Young People Award, and Ortega, which won the McNally Robinson Book for Young People Award. She is also the author of the recently published picture book, The Day My Mom Came t...

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Format:PaperbackDimensions:480 pages, 7 × 5 × 1.3 inPublished:February 4, 2014Publisher:Penguin CanadaLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0143183184

ISBN - 13:9780143183181

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Rated 4 out of 5 by from Lovvveee Persephone is a slave girl who works for a farmer. She slaves all day taking care of her selfish owner and all the animals on the farm. Her only hope is freedom. When one day she meets Azriel who changes her entire world. I always applaud authors when there's the viewpoint of the villain because everything is so much more easier to understand when we have both. The heroine in this case is Persephone and as most young women do fall in love, we have a romance here. I disliked Persephone for she seemed selfish, so I'm hoping she goes through a character arc and changes for the better. I loved how the romance was slow and sometimes agonizing but as always I was thoroughly entertained. I did enjoy all the wonderful animal friends that helped the characters too, but I also noticed they happen to appear at the most opportune moments. I thought that was such a nice touch. The pacing is so on point that I just wanted to know what happened until the end. Modern phrases were thrown in and I kind of felt weird about that. A lot of lust was thrown in so I'm guessing it's relevant to the story? I also don't understand why Azriel is always naked. Here is a book that I'm sure all fantasy lovers will devour. I know I did. Maureen sure knows how to whip readers into a frenzy with this high fantasy adventure.
Date published: 2015-01-16
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Amazing One of the best fantasy series I've read this year. The first book is the second one you fall in love with the story and characters, and the third one has you gripping your seat till the end. A must read for anyone over the age of 14. Fantasy done well with solid writing. And it doesn't hurt that it's Canadian :)
Date published: 2014-07-15
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Great!!! I loved the characters in this book (even the evil ones!) they were all very compelling. The romantic tension between the main characters is some of the best I've ever read.
Date published: 2014-02-26
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Review from Esther's Ever After You know what this book is? This book is a good old-fashioned adventure story in all its glory. Fans of Tamora Pierce and Kristin Cashore will love The Gypsy King! (I say that as a fan of both of those authors.) I want there to be high stakes, sinister villainy, swoon-worthy romance, tongue-in-cheek humour, and a pinch of magic added in my books. Check and mate to The Gypsy King for having it all for me. :) So it's pretty clear that The Gypsy King is a great new read for seasoned fans of fantasy books, but for those of you who aren't quite as well-acquainted or are a little iffy when it comes to this genre I think this is a book that you should give a chance. It's a little bit lighter on the fantasy, and the writing and story is strong enough to hold your interest. Trust me on this one! Reasons to Read: 1. Wit & excitement from the first page: The first chapter of The Gypsy King pretty much sets the tone and gives you a glimpse of what the rest of the book will be like - Persephone perpetually finds herself in trouble of one kind or another, and is never willing to back down. And once in a while, that actually works out VERY well for her. I love a book that instantly hooks me, and the first chapter did just that and only increased as the story moved along. 2. Characters (and an author) with a great sense of humour: I always enjoy reading books when the author writes in a few humorous scenes or includes a clever character to make those jokes. That's exactly why I loved reading the banter between Persephone and Azriel, and I have to say that their relationship kind of reminded me of George and Alana from The Lioness Quartet by Tamora Pierce (which, if you haven't read it, is a GOOD thing and you should make sure to read that series as well)! 3. Strong character relationships: I loved the diversity in characters we're introduced to in The Gypsy King (including animals), and how they interacted with each another. Strong friendships are a huge plus for me when reading, and I particularly enjoyed the relationship between Persephone and Azriel and her furry friends because of this!  As much fun as I had with this book, I could definitely tell that it wasn't as complex of a read as I normally look for and expect from fantasy books. There are a number of tricky situations that the characters conveniently walk away from, which makes The Gypsy King a bit more simplistic than other books. The positive aspect of this is that it means The Gypsy King could appeal to younger readers as well. But The Gypsy King felt like the YA fantasy I used to read years ago, as a younger teen, and I loved that! As much as I appreciate darker fantasy books, fun ones like this book are so enjoyable and Maureen has such a fantastic sense of humour that really comes across well in her writing. And there are some darker aspects to it, that I think are going to be more important in the next books of this series. The Gypsy King is a new favourite of mine and exactly what I've been missing in YA lately. ARC received from Penguin Canada for review; no other compensation was received. 
Date published: 2014-01-30
Rated 5 out of 5 by from A Captivating Tale Reading The Gypsy King is like jumping wholeheartedly into an unknown world replete with characters and conflicts that refuse to relinquish their hold on your heart even long after you’ve turned the last page. (And I’m sure I’m not the only one who flipped through the four blank pages at the end of the book, desperately trying to find an epilogue or notes from the author or just something to make the journey last a little longer.) Fergus’ story revolves around a 16-year-old slave named Persephone who, despite her many attempts to achieve freedom, finds herself entangled with Azriel, a thief who is as witty as he is handsome. Together they embark on a noble but ambitious rescue adventure that will find them dancing with danger and running for their lives. Persephone must choose between her freedom and her feelings for Azriel, but is she prepared for the repercussions of either choice? Fergus takes you on an edge-of-your-seat adventure that will have you re-reading some delicious parts and hastily gulping down others to find out what happens next. Story & Pacing: 10 The plot of this book is unique and fantastic. Each conflict adds layer upon layer to the story as a whole, so rather than having to deal with situations in a linear fashion, Fergus’ characters encounter problems that pile up before each can be solved. There wasn’t a part in the book where I was bored or where felt that a certain character’s troubles could be skipped over. The chapters alternate between the (omniscient) point of view of Persephone and Mordecai who, at first, have absolutely no connection to one another. This format choice lends a very thick air of foreshadowing, which enhances the pace of the novel, especially once the two characters meet. The ending of this story is so wonderful—a great payoff! The crisis and climax are intense and occur so late in the final chapters that I had to make sure I knew exactly how many pages were left so as not to leave myself unwittingly gasping in disbelief at the sudden conclusion. Nevertheless, I breathed a HUGE sigh of relief when I discovered that there will be not just one, but two more books to complete this story. Phew! Characters: 10 Fergus’ characters are endearing, complex, and memorable. Persephone is smart, diligent, and very kind. I could feel her sadness when she tries to recall her upbringing, and I understood the decisions she makes throughout the novel. She is a good role model for any young person as she is unwilling to be dominated, especially by men, but she is loyal to those who are loyal to her. She has the great flaw of being too spontaneous to the point that she becomes foolhardy at times. Azriel exudes charm: I can imagine the smirk on his face as he delivers one-liners to match Persephone’s wit. And I can just as easily imagine the way he looks at Persephone when she doesn’t realize he is gazing at her. Their interactions throughout the novel are so tender and romantic—despite Azriel’s bravado and Persephone’s punches and temper tantrums. (But, really, isn’t that just the way girls demonstrate their affections for someone?) There is so much more to explore in their relationship. And Mordecai is so deliciously complex that I waddled back and forth between writing him off as completely evil and feeling sorry for him: He is equal parts ruthless and piteous. Fergus has me completely enamoured with her characters (except maybe Mordecai)! Setting: 7 There's a lot of description of the various physical settings of this novel, which seems to take place in the late Middle Ages. The different places were very visible in my mind, but I would have liked to have had a map of Parthania and its surroundings to know exactly where each region is located in relation to the others. This would have been helpful considering the various characters in the story hail from a variety of identified places. I especially would have liked the map to help me envision Persephone and Azriel’s journey. Style & Writing: 9 Fergus’ writing is crisp and each of her characters has a very distinct voice. I particularly liked her knack for writing banter between characters, especially the kind laced with sarcasm (which, of course, is my cup of tea). She makes use of varied syntax, and she doesn’t shy away from descriptions via adverbs, which I really enjoy. The book, as a whole, is free of errors. Learnability & Teachability: 9 The biggest lesson to be gained from this novel is how to write well. Students who aspire to be novelists can learn from Fergus’ writing style, including her choice of words, her sentence structures, and her chapter and book endings. Anyone who wants an example of how to write well will find Fergus a great model to follow. Potential Teachables The Middle Ages; origins and history of gypsies; etymology and use of “gypsy”; character development; plot structure; conflict creation; monarchies and associated terms; patriarchal societies; slavery; making difficult choices.
Date published: 2013-05-02
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Mostly engaging start to a new series I love the amount of fantasy titles that are on my radar this year. The Gypsy King is my second and it’s still January! I sat down with high expectations for this novel and I was overall really pleased with the fun, adventure filled story I got lost in. I particularly liked Persephone as a heroine. Having grown up a slave, she was a little rough around the edges and developed a thick skin. But despite her unfortunate circumstances she still had a lighter, pleasant side. She’s quick with a laugh or a sarcastic comment. She also talks to and names all the animals she encounters. As an animal lover myself, I am instantly drawn to those who love them too. I thought Persephone was at her best when she was interacting with Azriel. I loved the back and forth between them. There is a romance present but there’s so many other things going on, their relationship is placed on the back burner. I think this is a positive because it gave them more time to get to know one another and to grow alongside each other. They’re incredibly cute and they absolutely make me laugh. The one drawback was that I didn’t appreciate her all too frequent lies to him. This made their relationship seem a little one sided and at times I wanted her to get over herself. But while I really enjoyed the protagonists of this story, I have mixed feeling about the villain - the Regent Mordecai. He was creeptastic. Don’t get me wrong. He was truly a horrible human being and his presence could give you goosebumps. But at times he felt a little two dimensional. He reminded me a lot of Jafar, from Aladdin. We know he’s bad, we know he wants power and control but we don’t know how and why he became so ruthless. I love complex villains and the Regent just didn’t do it for me. I also found that some things felt a little too…convenient. I don’t mind the odd coincidence but when they start cropping up on a regular basis it takes me out of the story. In The Gypsy King animals are always showing up exactly at the moment when needed. Or a character happened to be a perfect pool of water right beside where she fell in the mud etc. Like many first books, The Gypsy King, left me with a lot of questions. I want to know more about the kingdom, the Gypsy lifestyle, the circumstances that left to the genocide of their people. I don’t think the answers were missing from this book. It’s already 400 pages, there would have been no way to smoothly include all that surplus information. But these type of questions have made me really, really excited to read book two and get absorbed within this world again. Recommendation: A fun fantasy adventure, with an excellent pair of protagonists but a few notable flaws. Recommended for those looking for a light hearted read that is still packed with adventure. This and other reviews at More Than Just Magic (
Date published: 2013-01-24